Sam Colgate, a young American lad, was only sixteen years old when he left home to seek his fortune.
He had not got very far when he met an old canal boat captain who asked him where he was going.
Sam replied that he was off to New York to find work, although the only work he had ever done in his hometown was making candles and soap.
Well, the old captain and Sam chatted away for quite a while, and before Sam left on his journey, the old man suggested that they pray together. The older man asked God to take care of the boy on his travels and particularly when he reached the big city.
Then the captain said, “Somebody will soon be the leading soap-maker in New York. It could be you, Samuel, as well as anyone.”
Then he said a strange thing – “Remember to give to the Lord all that belongs to him of every dollar you earn.”
The Captain’s closing words to Sam were these “Make an honest soap and give a full pound and I am certain that you will be a rich man one day”
Sam arrived safely in New York City and found that work wasn’t easy to get, but he joined the Church, and remembering the old captain’s words he gave 10 cents of the first dollar he earned to God’s work.
Eventually he got regular employment and later became a partner in a firm. Some years after that he became the owner of the business which grew and prospered.
At first he gave a tenth of his wages to God’s work, then later a fifth, followed by three tenths and then two fifths. Eventually, he was giving half his income away – and still his business prospered.
When he had educated his family and settled his life’s plans, he gave all his income away.
After his death, it was estimated that Samuel Colgate had given a million dollars to the poor and needy during his lifetime.
Samuel Colgate made a fortune. He gave away a fortune. In many respects, he made another kind of fortune of a different kind.
Unselfish giving begins with God himself and in a peculiar way, the more we give away because of our love of him, the more we gain.
Perhaps the next time you use a tube of Sam Colgate’s toothpaste or a bar of his soap, you may just remember the boy who used God’s gifts as a trust and gave them back in loving and selfless service to others less fortunate than himself. And in doing so, assuredly, gained ‘riches in heaven’